Dopamine

The thing that makes life exciting, and therefore worth living, is a sense of wonder and newness. You get that sense of wonder and newness from a thing called dopamine, a chemical and its associated receptors in your brain that give you that, “Oh, wow!” feeling when something cool or unexpected happens. That double rainbow guy a few years back had way too many dopamine receptors.

As you age, fewer and fewer things provide you with a reason to fire up the old dopamine mechanism, mostly because you’ve actually seen pretty much everything or because your brain just feels like you’ve seen everything.  You can spur the system to life by trying new and dangerous things like jumping out of planes or sex tourism in Bangkok and we call that tempting fate.  Or you can achieve the effect through the application of various drugs and we call that crippling addiction.

But forcing dopamine reactions through manufactured adventurism and spine cracking chemical use seems like an empty way to generate a feeling of wholeness.  In fact, the natural process of aging eventually replaces “Oh, wow!” with “Ah, yes” as the newness drains from life and you quietly, slowly detach your connections to it.  This is nature’s way of separating you from the herd, of leaving you behind to make room for new life.

Why? Why? Why must death be an integral part of life?  Why are you yelling?  I didn’t make things this way.

But the answer to your question is this: Change.

The implacable will of evil men is sometimes only overcome by death.  Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan, Leo Strauss.  They all had their unwavering day in the sun much to the ill effect of the people and societies around them and all were eventually tripped up by age and mortality.

All that remains of them are the terrible machines they built to outlast them, their desperate attempts at immortality.  Machines that were eventually overcome and destroyed at great cost to many innocent people.

But don’t worry about that anymore because scientists tell us we are just a few years away from clinical immortality.  Yay!  Just what a planet that’s running out of resources needs. Infinite mouths to feed.

Why are they even working on this?

What’s the point of living forever if you’re just sitting around half collapsed into a rickety old rocking chair repeating the phrase, “Seen it,” over and over again?

My bet is that the new race of immortals will have much higher levels of dopamine and far more receptors so that they don’t get bored with life after the first couple hundred years.  Essentially, they’ll have the experiential systems of an eight year old.  That’s right, the new race of immortals will be a bunch of fourth graders on LSD.  And it will probably be our jobs to take care of them.

Of course, if immortals are the equivalent of eight year olds, that means that gods, who have been around for millions of years, must be a bunch of fucking infants.

Which would explain a lot.

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